In 2020, CERT.be, the operational service of the CCB, received 7433 notifications. These include reports from partner organizations (early warnings), vulnerabilities found, small cyber incidents such as phishing, and reports of large(r) cyber attacks with a request for assistance from CERT.be. Reports don't just come from victims. Incidents can also be reported with a request for advice, in order to avoid (financial) damage. The main types of reported incidents are phishing, fraud, ransomware and computer viruses.
Victims of cybercrime can report it to the local police. Figures on the number of reports are published in the Federal Police's annual crime statistics.
The number of reports to CERT.be does not give a complete picture of the number of cyber incidents in Belgium. The real number is many times higher: companies or individuals rarely report when they are victims of a cyber incident and do not always file complaints with the police. With the exception of some Operators of Essential Services (OES) and Digital Service Providers (DSP) officially designated under the NIS Act, there is no requirement to report cyber incidents. In addition, CERT.be could become more well-known, leading more companies and individuals to report to CERT.be.
Reports of phishing The CCB also receives reports of phishing via firstname.lastname@example.org. All Internet users who receive a suspicious message can forward it to email@example.com. Forwarded messages are automatically checked for links and attachments. After the positive scan of a suspicious link, the CCB gets the fake URLs blocked. Cybercriminals thus have fewer victims. In 2018, 648,000 messages were forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, and in 2019 more than 1,700,000.
In 2020, internet users forwarded no less than 3,225,234 messages to the email address email@example.com. That means more than 8,800 messages per day were sent, which is almost double the number in 2019. Thanks to the forwarded messages we were able to get 667,356 fraudulent links (phishing, fake web shops, scams, etc.) blocked.
We are seeing an increase in the number of reports, but we cannot conclude whether this is due to an increase in phishing emails in general, greater awareness of the email address firstname.lastname@example.org or a combination of both. In addition, it can be noted that phishing messages can be forwarded more than once, as well as spam, fake news or legitimate emails.